Joined: 11 May 2004
Location: Tampa, FLorida
|Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:15 am Post subject: Thanksgiving in 1565 Style
|A column in today's Tampa Tribune....
The truth about the first Thanksgiving
By Steve Otto | Tribune staff
Published: November 26, 2014 | Updated: November 27, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Oh, no! You say the dog pulled the turkey off the table while you were in the family room with 17 people and just about to tell them to come in and eat?
I’ve got the answer, and just in the nick of time.
Go into the pantry, grab a few cans of black beans or maybe some Spanish bean soup, throw it on the stove and go back and tell your guests that this year you are going to celebrate the real first Thanksgiving. I hope you have some sangria.
That’s right. The very first Thanksgiving is now thought to have been held on a grassy field on the Matanzas River in what is now St. Augustine in 1565, more than 50 years before the Pilgrims celebrated their Thanksgiving in New England.
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This isn’t a new, late-breaking story. Historians have known about it for a couple of decades, and people like me have written and columnized about it.
But for some reason, it just doesn’t catch on. Kids still come home from school wearing pilgrim hats, and there’s a better than 50-50 chance you are going to be sitting down to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans (and if you are really lucky some of the Frau’s scalloped oysters) and later some pumpkin or mincemeat pie.
So who would want to tamper with anything like that? Not me.
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But the truth is, on that Sept. 8 afternoon, nearly a thousand soldiers, sailors and settlers met with a large number of Timucuans on that river bank and shared a meal.
I’ve read where the menu likely consisted of “cocido,” a Spanish stew of pork and garbanzos, while the natives showed up with trays of oysters and clams from the nearby village of Seloy.
Maybe one of the reasons it hasn’t caught on is because the Spaniards were led by one Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who is best remembered for founding St. Augustine. While not the most ruthless of explorers who would work their ways along the coasts of Florida, he had a few massacres and nasty incidents on his résumé that might not go over well in a school play about the first Thanksgiving.
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My feeling is we’re missing a bet on this first Thanksgiving thing.
Nobody wants to push turkey day with its cranberries, leftover turkey sandwiches and football games away. It’s become an American tradition almost as big as Black Friday.
But what if we declared Sept. 8 as the “First Real Thanksgiving Day” and convinced our local Spanish restaurants to serve up special dishes with boliche, black beans and rice and maybe some flan for dessert?
Merchants could sell strings of black-bean lights to drape over the palm trees.
Although the Timucuans are long gone, people could get into the spirit by going to the Hard Rock casino to celebrate with the Seminoles.
It could go along with the start of the Christmas season, which is now officially two weeks before Halloween.
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
|Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:14 pm Post subject:
|Thanks for posting that, Rodrig. This is the first I've heard of the September 8th feast. And it's fun, too, that Steve Otto has a humorous style.
I had to look up "boliche." Here's how Wikipedia describes it:
|Boliche is a Cuban dish consisting of eye round roast stuffed with chorizo sausages browned in olive oil simmered in water with onions until the meat is soft, then quartered potatoes added. Water is added during cooking to keep it from drying. |